Realtor has a question for craigslist

I received this e-mail today from Gene who is a realtor if you couldn’t tell by the title…

In my opinion, anything free will inevitably be misused as in the case of underage prostitution, scams and all that I read about here.

I therefore question a few less headline evoking issues. Why has it been that “for profit” enterprises selling various goods and services, including those of an erotic nature, are allowed to post for free

on CL (even the illegal ones) yet realtors must pay to post a rental listing? Are we considered as being vendors of our services in the procurement of leases for the owners we represent? Surely, all the vendors who advertise for free on CL are representing their services (including erotic and illegal) or products made by themselves or another manufacturer are doing this for profit. Why are realtors services for representing their product discriminated against by having to pay a fee per posting.

Is there some “weak link” in the real estate business on CL that needed to be strengthened to prevent some illegal activity ?

I have asked the management of CL this question and have never gotten an answer of any kind.


I’m not surprised you haven’t got an answer from craigslist Gene. They’re not very forthcoming.

Unfortunately Gene I do not have an answer for you. I can’t even begin to fathom the thought processes at craigslist.

Also from what I understand you’re better off not posting on craigslist since the odds are pretty good your ad could be hijacked by a scammer.

Anyway I’ll open it up to the readers. Do you have an answer for Gene?

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Comments 1

  • Just a wild guess, but it’s likely to have something to do with Craigslist being able to comply with requirements of the Patriot Act, as Realtors are technically considered to be “persons involved in real estate settlements and closings” and thus are also considered to be financial institutions. Craigslist was initially probably covering their bases in case they got a nice letter from the FBI saying “tell us everything you know about ‘X’ who has been posting real estate listings all over your site, who we think is a front for ‘Y’ terrorist organization.”

    It probably easily allows Craigslist to be able to search against the Office of Foreign Asset Control (OFAC) and the Bureau of Export Administration (BAX).

    Additionally, it probably is an attempt to make it easier for Craigslist to follow a credit card transaction when they get wind of a scam attempting to sell or rent houses looking for a deposit up-front.

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